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Offbeat White House: Calling MS-13 'animals' isn't 'strong enough'

22:21  17 may  2018
22:21  17 may  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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The White House said Thursday that President Trump was "clearly" referring to members of the MS - 13 gang when he called some immigrants " animals " and I was talking about the MS - 13 . And if you look a little bit further on in the tape you'll see that. So I'm actually surprised that you're asking this question

‘I don’ t think the term is strong enough ,’ press secretary says of Trump’s description about undocumented gang members.

Video by The Associated Press

The White House said Thursday that President Trump was "clearly" referring to members of the MS-13 gang when he called some immigrants "animals" and argued the controversial label is more than appropriate.

"If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. "Frankly, I don't think the term the president used is strong enough."

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said US President Donald Trump's Wednesday comments that some deported immigrants are animals was not

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump was referring to MS - 13 when he used the term " animals ," adding that the term wasn' t " strong enough ."

The spokesperson rattled off a list of "heinous acts" committed by the gang, including rape, beating a woman with a baseball bat and killing and decapitating a man.

"The term 'animal' doesn't go far enough," she said.

Sanders's comments are likely to further enflame the debate surrounding Trump's heated immigration rhetoric.

A day earlier, Trump sparked criticism when he used the term during a meeting with California officials opposed to the state's "sanctuary city" policy.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told the president she was frustrated by how California's laws have limited the ability of local law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws, specifically in regards to the MS-13 gang.

"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we're stopping a lot of them, but we're taking people out of the country, you wouldn't believe how bad these people are," Trump said.

Trump says some migrants are 'animals'

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“ MS - 13 is a transnational gang that has brought violence, fear, and suffering to American communities,” said the White House statement about the gang, released Monday. “President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice.”

The White House seized on the description after social media backlash to a set of remarks the president delivered last Wednesday during an immigration roundtable. "So when the MS - 13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as " animals ." And guess what?

a person sitting in front of a building © Provided by The Hill

"These aren't people. These are animals, and we're taking them out of the country at a rate that's never happened before," he added.

During a Cabinet Room meeting with the head of NATO on Thursday, Trump emphasized that he specifically meant the gang.

"I'm referring - and you know I'm referring - to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in. I was talking about the MS-13. And if you look a little bit further on in the tape you'll see that. So I'm actually surprised that you're asking this question 'cause most people got it right," he said.

Asked about the phrase by reporters, Trump defended his choice of words and vowed to repeat them.

"MS-13 - these are animals... We need strong immigration laws. ...We have laws that are laughed at on immigration," he said. "So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals and guess what, I always will."

Mexico rejects Trump's comments that some immigrants are 'animals'

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So when the MS - 13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals . On Thursday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, came to a briefing with reporters Frankly, I don’ t think the term that the president used was strong enough .”

An official White House statement issued today called members of MS - 13 " animals " ten times. Trump’s extemporaneous insult inspired an apparent decision by the White House to double down on the term “ animals .” The next day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended

Trump has previously used the term "animals" to refer to members of MS-13. He has also labeled larger groups of immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally as criminals.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said when he launched his presidential campaign in June 2015. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Some of those who heard Trump's remarks inferred that he was alluding to all undocumented immigrants, not specifically gang members, an interpretation the White House rejects.

"When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren't 'animals,' and these people aren't either," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday.

Sanders responded that "the president should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible, disgusting people."

-Updated at 2:56 p.m.

Trump to address gang violence in Long Island speech .
President Donald Trump will speak on immigration and gang violence in a speech on Long Island in New York. The president is expected to discuss efforts to eradicate MS-13, the violent Salvadoran-based street gang.Last week, Trump used the word "animals" to describe some people who enter the country illegally, in response to a comment about MS-13. The president says he will continue to use the term in referring to the gang.The White House also released a fact sheet Monday morning, titled, "WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIOLENT ANIMALS OF MS-13.

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